Grand Rapids Press Has Double Standard in Senate Race Coverage

Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Press ran an article about the Michigan Senate election. It offered little information (notably excluding his voting record) about the incumbent candidate Carl Levin.

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On Sunday, the Grand Rapids Press featured a story (page A21) on the race for the US Senate in Michigan. The headline reads as, “Mr. Far Outside likes match with Mr. Deep Inside.” The Associated Press (AP) article primarily focuses on the “longevity” of 30-year incumbent Carl Levin and his “conservative” opponent, Michigan state House Representative Jack Hoogendyk.

The only issue that the AP story cites Levin on is the economy, with particular attention to how it impacts Michigan. Levin places the blame of the Michigan economy at the feet of President Bush, but offers no solutions to Michigan’s unemployment. It is unfortunate that the Press article does not provide readers with any information on Levin’s voting record, despite having 30 years in the Senate. Instead, the AP story tells us how long he has been married to his wife and who he defeated in his first Senate race in 1978.

The same reporting style does not apply to Hoogendyk. With the GOP challenger, the AP story at least gives a short list of legislative proposals that Hoogendyk has initiated; “measures to shorten the legislative season, cut lawmakers’ pay, make English the state’s official language and count only legal citizens when congressional seats are apportioned.” One has to ask why this kind of summary of legislative positions was not included in the comments about Senator Levin?

There was also no mention of how much money the candidates have raised and spent for this seat. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Senator Levin has raised over $8 million for this election and spent over $6 million. Hoogendyk has raised only $234,080 and spent $155,633. Levin has received sizable contributions from Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($46,100), GM (40,650) and the Ford Motor Company ($45,699). The 30-year Senator has also received $344,168 for the Israeli Lobby and has been the top recipient of money from this lobby the last three times he has run for re-election.

There are also four other candidates running for this US Senate seat, but they were excluded from the text of the article. The four are Scotty Boman (Libertarian Party), Doug Dern (Natural Law Party), Harley Mikkelson (Green Party), and Michael Nikitin (US Taxpayers Party). the Press did include a short biography of each of the other candidates in a side bar, but this information is limited to party affiliation, profession, and martial status. No information is provided on their platforms.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org